This Sunday is World Communion Sunday when Christians all over the world will celebrate the sacrament that some call Holy Communion, others call the Lord’s Supper, and others call the Eurcharist. Some will celebrate in elaborate cathedrals before magnificent carved tables. Others will celebrate in small shelters with a simple wooden table. Some will drink from a gold and silver chalice, others will dip a piece of bread in a simple earthen cup. Yet, all are bound together in Christ.
World Communion Sunday was conceived and first celebrated in 1933 but became widespread and truly worldwide during the dark days of World War II. It came to remind us that, though different, we are all children of God. It came to remind us that the Communion Table is the table of the Prince of Peace. It came to remind us of what we say in the Great Thanksgiving Prayer: Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood. By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world.
Below is a beautiful piece that Charme Robarts has written about Pope Francis’ visit and the service he and other faith leaders conducted at ground zero in New York. It is so appropriate and timely as we approach World Communion Sunday.
Grace and Peace,
The Multi-Faith Service at Ground Zero
The wall that did not collapse at the World Trade Center when the airplanes hit and the twin reflecting pools that now shimmer to signify infinity in the solemn place where these two buildings once stood are poignant symbols of both enduring sorrow and unending faith.
This past week Pope Francis and thirteen other religious leaders joined in prayers of remembrance for the victims and empathy for the continual tears of those left behind — and for peace in our violent world. Millions of us watched, adding our tears of sorrow and hope.
For us as United Methodists, this event was an affirmation of our collective hope for the world. Our liturgy states humbly and generously that the communion table belongs not to any one of us, or any one group of us, but it is the table of the Lord, open to all. This faith statement resonates in us as we try to live with open hearts and minds in daily encounters with everyone we meet. And, as we looked on at the events of the interfaith service named “A Witness to Peace,” our hearts were filled with the inextinguishable presence of God.
Throughout our lives we experience many remarkable things that shape the world, and too often it is the horrible and the violent things get the most of our attention. But last Friday, by a wall that would not collapse and by pools of water that have no visible bottom, people of various traditions and understandings stood together, each recognizing the ground zero of empathy and hope.